USDA Interim Final Rule Summary: Non-Congregate Summer Meals

In December 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 authorized a permanent option for non-congregate summer meals in rural areas without congregate service. As required by law, on December 29, 2023, USDA issued its Interim Final Rule (IFR): Establishing the Summer EBT Program and Rural Non-Congregate Option in the Summer Meal Programs. The IFR takes immediate effect and will guide implementation in Summer 2024, but the IFR is still open for public comment until April 29, 2024 to inform a future final rule.

This resource summarizes the updates made by the IFR to the regulations for non-congregate meal service, including the new definition of "rural" and new guidance on models like parent/guardian meal pick-up and multi-day meal distribution. 

Related: Top Takeaways on the IFR for Operators

Just want to get the highlights? See our related resource, Interim Final Rule on Non-Congregate Summer Meals: Top Takeaways for Operators, a two-pager that summarizes some of the key points of the IFR and focuses on differences from 2023 guidance.